You want to put what in my body?
There’s a test my cardiologist wants to give me. It’s called the Cardiolyte. They pump this fluid into your system through your bloodstream, put you in a tunnel for two hours, and as your body responds to the chemical they’ve given you, your blood pressure rises and they can find out what part of your bloodstream is the weakest. Or what might break.
The problem is, the fluid is nuclear chemicals.
Now, the minute I hear the word “nuclear,” I freak straight out. Had the image of Cape Canaveral nuclear fuel going up in a rocket, straight up, a thousand million feet up. Chernobyl in Russia, where 30,000 people died of cancer and God knows what else because nuclear chemicals got in the air. And that’s enough for me.
They expect me to lie there inside a dark, big metal tunnel, being scoped all around with X-ray material, whatever. And my body’s just going to lie there, pumped full of nuclear chemicals.
What if it all blows up? I mean, POW! Inside the machine you hear a loud pop, and there’s no more me. You look in, and the nurse says, “Look at that, he disappeared.”
Another side effect we hadn’t heard about.
The other night I had a bad dream about the nuclear test. I was lying down, having tubes inserted in me, and there was a doctor sticking my finger with a big, long needle, injecting something in it. I leaned over and said, “Now, what is that stuff?”
He turned to me with a Dracula smile, wouldn’t answer my question, and kept on sticking me. So I got up out of the dream, ran out of the bedroom, ran to the phone, called the doctor, and said, “It’s OFF!”
The nurse said, “What’s off?”
I said, “The nuclear blast-off with me at the other end is off. I’m not taking it.”
She said, “Don’t be silly, Herb. Many people have taken it.”
I said, “Sure, I’ve seen them. They walk the streets at night, their eyes bulging with a weird glow, their hair standing straight up. Sometimes you see them at Radio Shack; when they go in, all the machines jam up.
“Ain’t no nuclear anything going inside of me. How come you guys can’t just stick little wooden things in our mouths and make us say ‘Aahhh,’ or a stethoscope to the heart; listen real close to see if you hear Bugs Bunny laughing in there? Or better yet, a urine specimen? Everything used to be pee in a bucket or a little cup, and there’s no problem. There’s nothing horrible about that.”
I decided that before the doctor gives me up as a patient – which isn’t a bad idea, actually – I’m gonna fill a full gallon bucket of specimen and leave it for him with a note saying, “See if you can turn this into a new nuclear high-speed racing fuel for cars.”
Now some of you may think that I have no courage, but that’s a lie. It takes a lot of guts to tell a dentist “no” when he says, “Now open your mouth.”
Or when a doctor grabs my lower equipment and says, “Now cough.” And I reply, “Get your hands off me, you filthy pervert!”
But nuclear chemicals pumping through my veins? I can just see the big machine rumbling with me inside, then I’m blasting straight up and up, into the high stratosphere. In pieces yet.
And down below I hear the voices say in unison, “Ooops.”
Herb Robins is a Grass Valley resident who writes a column on Fridays. You can write him in care of The Union, 464 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, 95945.
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